Penn was ranked No. 8 in the 2021 U.S. News & World Report ranking of American universities, falling two spots from last year's ranking.
The University placed No. 8 in the 2017, 2018, and 2019 U.S. News & World Report rankings, before rising to a high of No. 6 in 2020. Penn was surpassed by Stanford University and the University of Chicago this year, both of which share the No. 6 spot.
Princeton University continued its streak as the top-ranked university, placing No. 1 for the tenth year in a row. Harvard University and Columbia University placed No. 2 and 3, respectively, for the third straight year while Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Yale University tied for No. 4, falling from No. 3 last year.
Last year's No. 6 ranking was Penn's highest since it ranked No. 7 in 2013. For the past seven years, it had hovered between the eighth and ninth spots.
Penn ranked No. 17 in Best Value Schools, a drop from No. 15 in last year’s rankings and the third to last position in the Ivy League. The University also ranked No. 25 in a five-way tie for Most Innovative Schools, rising from No. 27 last year.
Penn's undergraduate business program ranked first in the nation, following the Wharton School's first-place ranking in full-time MBA programs earlier this year. Penn's Perelman School of Medicine was also named the third-best medical school earlier this year for research by U.S. News & World Report.
The U.S. World & News Report calculates rankings based on 17 categories that measure academic quality including graduation rate, financial aid resources, and faculty resources.
This year, the rankings took into consideration a number of new factors, including the average student debt accumulated by undergraduates at graduation and the percent of undergraduates who have borrowed federal loans.
Forty percent of the ranking methodology is "outcomes," which includes metrics like graduation and retention rates and social mobility. The weights for SAT and ACT scores were reduced, and schools that don't consider these scores in their admissions processes are included in the rankings, having previously been listed as unranked.